Taliban order families to use Islamic names

KABUL, July 28,1998 (AFP) - Afghan parents have been ordered to give new-born infants proper Islamic names in the latest edict from the hardline Moslem Taliban, official radio announced Tuesday.

The announcement from the Ministry of Fostering Virtue and Suppressing Vice complained that some families have given children "vice" names "like Rita, Arita, Parkash, Geeta and Victor."

"Therefore, this is to announce to all the faithful countrymen to choose their children's names according to the Islamic Sharia and to avoid vice names which are not befitting for Moslems," the statement said.

The puritancial Taliban control two-thirds of Afghanistan including the once liberal capital Kabul, and have totally altered the conduct and appearance of the population.

In areas under militia control, women are barred from work and education, men have to grow lengthy beards while western clothing, music, television, cinema, video and photography are strictly banned.

Mobile anti-vice squads enforce the laws in the capital by giving on-the-spot punishments with a rubber hose or a leather whip to "sinners."

It is unclear if these punishments will be extended to residents unfortunate enough to have been given unsuitable names at birth.

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